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Koch's phenomenon after BCG vaccination and the two-step tuberculin test in elementary school children



Koch's phenomenon after BCG vaccination and the two-step tuberculin test in elementary school children



Kekkaku 73(6): 395-401



In Japan, BCG vaccination, which covers more than 90% of infants, has been given according to the national immunization policy. Moreover, first-grade children in elementary school are screened with tuberculin skin test, and those who show negative reaction in the Japanese standard, i.e. size of erythema less than 10 mm, are re-vaccinated with BCG according to the Tuberculosis Prevention Law. However, since the incidence of tuberculosis among children below age 14 is as low as 1.5/100,000 in Japan, it is time to reconsider the BCG vaccination policy. As the first step to assess the efficiency of the present program, we observed the occurrence of Koch's phenomenon after BCG vaccination in elementary school children in Chiba City in 1995 and 1996, and we introduced the two-step tuberculin test to elementary school children in 1997. Among 180 BCG vaccinated children in 1995 and 1996, 168 (93.3%) had been vaccinated by 4-year of age. We could follow local reaction of BCG re-vaccination and observed Koch's phenomenon in 117 (69.6%, 95% C.I. of 62.7-76.6%). Among 92 tuberculin negative children in 1997, 85 (92.4%) had been vaccinated by 4-year of age. In the two-step tuberculin test program of 85 initial negative-reactors, 63 (74.1%, 95% C.I. of 64.8-83.4%) turned to positive by the second test. Those results suggest that more than 69% of tuberculin-negative school children who were vaccinated previously maintained immunity with BCG. Our studies raised a problem of the current BCG re-vaccination policy that depends on the result of tuberculin test. Due to the discrepancy between tuberculin allergy and immunity in tuberculosis, many school children may be given BCG vaccination unnecessarily. Taking into consideration the incidence of tuberculosis in children, discontinuation of BCG re-vaccination policy at elementary school entrance should be considered.

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Accession: 046508832

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PMID: 9695482


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